Where Can I Find Scholarships for Master’s Degree Programs?

After completing your bachelor’s degree, graduate school is an appealing option if you can find scholarships for master’s degree programs. A graduate degree strengthens your resume and could lead to better pay and greater responsibilities in your job. A master’s degree in your field of specialization demonstrates passion, commitment and the ability to handle stressful situations on various levels. However, the costs of obtaining an advance degree can be a stumbling block in your career path unless you pursue creative ways to finance graduate school through grants and scholarships.

Employment-based Scholarships

Many companies have scholarship programs already in place for employees. The minimum qualification is full-time employment for a given number of months or years. Some companies may specify that courses taken are somehow related to your position in the company while others assume that all academic achievements count regardless of connection to your current job. Because the scholarships may come in the form of tuition reimbursement, you may still have to provide the funds initially.

Don’t hesitate to ask human resources at your place of employment about academic sponsorships or scholarships even if they don’t seem to be promoting such a benefit. At the very least, they may be able to provide information on scholarships from other organizations in the industry. This will also give you a chance to ask for an employment reference, which is usually part of the admission requirements for graduate school. You may also be required to continue working part-time while enrolled in a graduate program or commit to full-time employment after graduation as a condition to qualifying for an employer-based academic scholarship.

Scholarships from Professional Associations

If you are pursuing a master’s degree, look into the possibility of applying for grants or scholarships offered by professional associations. Some of these opportunities may require that you meet membership requirements and pay dues while other scholarships are open to the public subject to certain guidelines that may be based on gender, race or social affiliation.

Scholarship Programs Specific to the University or Academic Department

Some of these scholarships may have been set up as a collaborative program with specific academic institutions. This means that admission to the master’s program at these universities will be a prerequisite for a scholarship application. This also means that you can find scholarships for master’s degree programs by inquiring about them while seeking admission to the program.

Many graduate students line up their funding sources prior to committing to enrollment. In fact, the decision to pursue graduate school often depends on whether you qualify for a grant, scholarship, academic fellowship or work-study program. The work-study program may require master’s degree candidates to spend time as teaching assistants, research assistants or similar positions that offer per diem or per-hour compensation with other benefits.

Scholarships for Military Veterans

If you have a record of military service, you may be surprised to find that various scholarships are available to veterans. Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, anyone who has served on active duty in the military for at least 90 days after September 10, 2001 can apply for reimbursement of tuition and other expenses, including a stipend for housing, living allowance and books and supplies. The financial award is based on length of service and enlistment status. Other scholarships for veterans may be sponsored by government agencies or private organizations.

Don’t let financial constraints stop you from pursuing a master’s degree. The strategy is to find scholarships for master’s degree programs even before you pursue admission to a specific program because some scholarships are available only for certain universities and specified programs. Cast a wide net, and don’t hesitate to approach industry sources for tips on scholarship sources.

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